Nanocellulose-based inks for 3D bioprinting: Key aspects in research development and challenging perspectives in applications: A mini review

Xiaoju Wang*, Qingbo Wang, Chunlin Xu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Article or Literature Reviewpeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)
104 Downloads (Pure)


Nanocelluloses have emerged as a catalogue of renewable nanomaterials for bioink formulation in service of 3D bioprinting, thanks to their structural similarity to extracellular matrices and excellent biocompatibility of supporting crucial cellular activities. From a material scientist’s viewpoint, this mini-review presents the key research aspects of the development of the nanocellulose-based bioinks in 3D (bio)printing. The nanomaterial properties of various types of nanocelluloses, including bacterial nanocellulose, cellulose nanofibers, and cellulose nanocrystals, are reviewed with respect to their origins and preparation methods. Different cross-linking strategies to integrate into multicomponent nanocellulose-based bioinks are discussed in terms of regulating ink fidelity in direct ink writing as well as tuning the mechanical stiffness as a bioactive cue in the printed hydrogel construct. Furthermore, the impact of surface charge and functional groups on nanocellulose surface on the crucial cellular activities (e.g., cell survival, attachment, and proliferation) is discussed with the cell–matrix interactions in focus. Aiming at a sustainable and cost-effective alternative for end-users in biomedical and pharmaceutical fields, challenging aspects such as biodegradability and potential nanotoxicity of nanocelluloses call for more fundamental comprehension of the cell–matrix interactions and further validation in in vivo models.
Original languageEnglish
Article number40
Number of pages20
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2020
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • nanocellulose
  • bacterial nanocellulose
  • cellulose nanofibrils
  • cellulose nanocrystals
  • bioink
  • 3D bioprinting
  • hydrogel


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